TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

First Bank, Zenith, others sign MTN's $3b loan

By The Citizen

A $3 billion medium-term loan agreement was signed yesterday by mobile giant MTN and a consortium of banks.

Zenith Bank, FCMB, Access Bank and about 14 others signed the deal to finance MTN Nigeria's medium-term loan, which it plans to spend on expanding and upgrading its network.

According to MTN, the loan, which tenure of repayment has been increased from five to seven years, is syndicated from both local and international banks.

Zenith contributed N55billion - the highest. First Bank put in N40 billion. GTBank also put N40 billion on the table. Access Bank, Fidelity Bank and First City Monument Bank added N35 billion, N26.25billion and N15 billion.

Speaking at the Eko Hotel and Suites, venue of the signing ceremony, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Nigeria, Brett Goshen, said it was another milestone in the history of the telco, which, he said, has built a track record of partnerships with both local and international fiancial institutions.

He recalled that in 2003, the $395million funding MTN Nigeria received from financial institutions was the largest funding sealed outside South Africa, adding that it won the telco Project Fianace magazine's 'African Telecoms Deal' of the year.

'In 2007, MTN Nigeria again partnered with various local and international fianacial institutions to raise $2 billion to fund our rapidly expanding operations. It was again regarded as the largest laon syndication to any individual telecommunications company in Africa,' Goshen said, adding that in 2010, the telco partnered with 15 local financial institutions and two international lenders to raise another $2 billion described as the largest corporate financing deal in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to him, the essence of these deals is to enable the telco make the capital investment necessary to expand its network infrastructure and meet the growing demands of its customers.

'We certainly put that financing into good use, built the most extensive telecommunications network in Africa and grew our customer base to over 50 million subscribers. With mobile penetration still relatively low, sound economic growth, lower cost of ownership for consumers and the insatiable demand for data services, the growth story continues,' the CEO added.

He said the restructured and additional facilities would enable MTN to continue with the aggressive investment in its network which got $1.5 billion this year, and take advantage of the demands of customers and growth opportunities.